Orthostatic hypotension, or postural hypotension, describes the condition where an individual’s blood pressure falls when they stand up from a sitting or lying position. It can be defined as a decrease of at least 20 mmHg in the systolic blood pressure or 10 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.
It is thought to be due to the delayed constriction of the blood vessels in the lower body. Due to the delayed constriction, the blood remains pooled in the legs for a longer duration with less returning to the heart. This reduces cardiac output and causes orthostatic hypotension. Mild cases are common and can occur in anyone. However, it is most commonly seen among the elderly and individuals with low blood pressure. Severe decreases in blood pressure can lead to fainting and injuries from falls.
Treatment involves treating the underlying cause, increasing salt intake, ensuring hydration, wearing compression socks, and taking medications (midodrine and fludrocortisone). Below are 10 causes of hypotension to be aware of.
Cause #1: Low Blood Volume
Low blood volume or hypovolemia occurs when there is blood loss, loss of plasma, and loss of sodium and intravascular water. These symptoms can be seen in bleeding, blood donation, severe burns, diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. Symptoms of hypovolemia include headache, profuse sweating, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. There can also be orthostatic hypotension.
Hypovolemia can be treated by controlling the bleeding or compensating the deficit of blood volume using intravenous fluids, blood, or blood substitutes.